Jamaican media have reported the arrest of a Colombian national in connection with the July 7 assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse at his Port-au-Prince residence.
A foreign commando of mercenaries who spoke Spanish broke into Moïse's home and shot him dead. The Colombian Mario Palacios is believed to have been a member of that group.
According to Jamaican press reports, Palacios had entered the Caribbean island incognito. Palacios did not resist when he was detained in a guest house where he was staying.
However, Jamaican Police has not yet confirmed the arrest.
Haiti's National Police (HNP) had issued a search and arrest notice in July against Palacios. Of the group that allegedly perpetrated the attack, 18 Colombians and 2 Haitian-Americans have been arrested, while 3 Colombians died in shootings with the police after the crime.
Haitian authorities have announced the arrest of one of the masterminds behind the killing, Doctor Christian Emmanuel Sonon, a resident of the United States. According to investigations, Sonon hired the commando group through a US-based security company, which is run by a Venezuelan citizen.
Meanwhile, in Port-au-Prince, HNP Chief Leon Charles has turned in his resignation and will be replaced by Frantz Elbe, it was reported.
Charles made the announcement hours after a video surfaced on social media of Wilson Joseph, leader of the 400 Mawozo gangs, threatening Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the police chief during what appeared to be an outdoor funeral.
Ariel Henry, Leon Charles! Guys, don't forget today, Wednesday, everyone must pay their debts. Those guys brought me to tears. Five soldiers have fallen, but it won't destroy the army, Joseph said, apparently referring to five gang members who were shot and killed this week.
Joseph also threatened to kill the 17 missionaries he kidnapped on Saturday if his demands were not met. “May lightning strike me — if I don’t get what I asked for, you see these Americans, I would rather kill them,” he said.
The 400 Mawozo gangs kidnapped 17 missionaries (16 Americans and one Canadian, including children) while they were visiting an orphanage in Ganthier, a town east of the capital and demanded a US $ 1 million ransom for each person.
In Washington DC, the administration of President Joseph Biden is said to be monitoring the case closely and “in constant communication with the” HNP.
Before he was appointed police chief by former President Moise in November 2020, Charles represented Haiti at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington. He also held the post of charge d'affaires at the Haitian Embassy in Washington.
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